Norcross, Otis, 1811-1882
Otis Norcross was the eighteenth mayor of Boston. He was one of the few mayors who could truthfully say that during his connection with city affairs, he never used a dollar's worth of merchandise, never made a contract with the city either indirectly or directly, and never put a friend or relative into office of any kind.
He was born in the North End, November 2, 1811, and studied at Miss Devenport's School and later at Abel Whitney's School. He went on to the English High School, and at fourteen became an apprentice in his father's firm, Otis Norcross and Company, crockery dealers. His father died in 1827, and he became a partner, retiring in 1867.
In 1871 he was one of the Boston Committee to relieve the Chicago fire sufferers, and in 1872 while the Boston fire was raging, he was made treasurer of the relief committee.
While a member of the Water Board in 1865, he helped in promoting the construction of the Chestnut Hill Reservoir. During his term as mayor, Roxbury was annexed. He welcomed President Johnson and General Sheridan as guests of the city, vetoed an order of the City Council for building an insane hospital in Winthrop, and was a member of the commission which selected the site for the new post office. His failure to receive the customary second term was due to the stiffness of his virtue, for he was not pliable enough to suit the politicians. He was one of the commission in 1873 for a new charter, which was not adopted. He was one of the original members of the Union Club, life member of the Boston Natural History Society, on the Board of Trustees of the Institute of Technology, member of the New England Historic-Genealogical Society, and a member of many other organizations.
Taken from "Boston's 45 Mayors from John Phillips to Kevin H. White," City Record, Boston, 1979.
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Photographs and other images collected by the Boston Landmarks Commission for reference use and for publications as well as photographs taken by the Landmarks Commission documenting their work and city neighborhoods.